DPS Traffic Stops Result in Federal Charges Against Two Individuals for Possession With Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine
AMARILLO, Texas — Following two un-related traffic stops by Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers along Interstate 40 in Carson County, Texas, last week, two men, Hugo Beltran-Ruiz, 42, and Elider Garcia, 30, have each been charged in separate federal felony criminal complaints with possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
According to the affidavit filed in one complaint, shortly before 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, October 16, 2012, a DPS Trooper conducted a traffic stop of a Toyota Corolla for following too closely to an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer. The Corolla was rented from Hertz in California and driven by Mayra Ramirez; Hugo Beltran-Ruiz was the passenger. After issuing a traffic citation, the Trooper received consent to search the vehicle and approximately nine vacuum-sealed bundles of methamphetamine, totaling approximately 10 pounds, were found hidden in the vehicle’s rear door panels. Ramirez denied any knowledge of the drugs that were found, explaining that she rented the car for Beltran-Ruiz so that they could go shopping in Oklahoma. Beltran-Ruiz, however, acknowledged that he transported the methamphetamine from Ontario, California, to an intended location in Oklahoma. Beltran-Ruiz, who made his initial appearance in federal court on Monday, has a detention hearing set for today in federal court in Amarillo.
In the second complaint, the affidavit states that at approximately 9:30 a.m., on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, a DPS Trooper conducted a traffic stop of a Toyota Camry for traveling too closely to another vehicle. The Camry, registered to an individual in Van Buren, Arkansas, was driven by Marixa Alfaro and the passenger identified himself as Paul Aranda. It was discovered that Aranda lied about his name and his true name was verified as Elider Garcia, a previously deported felon with Mexican citizenship. After issuing a warning for the traffic infraction and receiving consent to search the vehicle, approximately seven, plastic-wrapped bundles of methamphetamine, totaling approximately seven pounds, were found hidden in a man-made compartment between the glove box and the firewall. Alfaro denied any knowledge of the drugs found in the car, while Garcia acknowledged transporting the methamphetamine from Los Angeles, California. Garcia is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Amarillo today.
A federal criminal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The U.S. Attorney’s office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment. The penalty for the charged offense is not less than 10 years or more than life in federal prison and a $10 million fine.
The investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Carson County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey R. Haag, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, Texas, and Vicki Lamberson, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Amarillo, are in charge of the prosecutions.
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